November 11, 2012

A Livability Index

We’re always interested in ways to measure how Special a place is.  A website called areavibes.com has a Livability Index that has some interesting assumptions.

First, let’s see what it makes of some places most of us agree are Not Particularly Special (by which we mean we wouldn’t live there for free and we also wouldn’t live there unless we were paid Larry Ellison’s stock options).

Here’s areavibes on Detroit.

121110-areavibes-detroit

Detroit, MI is “Somewhat Livable.”  The only “A” grade it received was in cost of living, and that’s because the city will pay you to take one of their excess houses so they don’t have to pay to tear it down.  We can’t imagine what kind of city would merit a “Completely Out of the Question.”  Let’s move another to another Perennial of Pwnage: Stockton.

121110-areavibes-stockton

I can see the new Civic Motto over City Hall (if they have any staff capable of hanging banners): Stockton! Four Points More Livable Than Detroit!  But they are an important four points, as Stockton is considered “Very Livable.”

We now move on toward the Bay Area, but not the Good Part.

121110-areavibes-hayward

When Stockton has finer amenities than you do, and their weather is better too, plus your housing costs are unacceptably high to anyone outside the Bay Area, what’s the point of even entering the race?  Let’s try a better zip code.

121110-areavibes-sanjose

Ooooo!  Exceptionally Livable!  And what’s really exceptional is that if we type in an actual zip code, the score went down.

121110-areavibes-95129

Good luck figuring out why.  Finally, we arrive at the pinnacle of Real Bay Area Living.

121110-areavibes-cupertino

We invite you to try to score higher than that, either in the Bay Area, or anywhere else.  And we don’t want you to think these “grades” are completely pulled out of Mitt Romney’s car elevator.  Here, for example, is what the housing grade is based on:

121110-areavibes-cupertino-housing

Cupertino scores higher than average in every category.  Why would they be marked down for better numbers?

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so go crazy.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:11 am






November 3, 2012

Stockton: Gateway to Exurban Misery

Burbed has often featured links to real estate and economy pieces on the weekends, provided by both local and national news sites.  Today’s article comes from The Guardian, based in the United Kingdom.  Its excellent reportage capturing the civic death throes of California’s 13th largest city (4th largest in the Central Valley), and its British perspective offers an outsider’s look at some of our issues we can’t see ourselves.

Stockton, California: ‘This economy is garbage’

The middle-class families Obama claims as his bedrock are suffering in a city where foreclosure and violence are rampant

Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian, Friday 2 November 2012 13.12 EDT

121102-stockton-gatedIn some towns, visitors are warned to keep an eye on their stuff, or to watch out late at night. In the Californian city of Stockton, the anxiety is more precise – and it kicks in early. “Take care downtown after 5pm,” one local person told me. “Don’t hang out too long.”

A few hours later, I saw what she meant. Almost as soon as the offices shut, the city centre empties. Then the sun goes down and a different cast takes to the streets: the homeless, the drug dealers, and clusters of young men patrolling up and down on bicycles.

Stockton ranks among America’s 10 most dangerous cities, and everyone here seems to operate under a self-imposed curfew. The commuter admits she doesn’t dare go to the cinema after 8pm; the father expects his 18-year-old daughter home by 10 – “and she totally gets why.” Others prefer not to go out at all. All give the same reason: the spiralling number of violent crimes.

Last weekend, the city notched up its 60th murder of the year, up from 24 for all of 2008. At just under 300,000 residents, this river port has about the same population as a London borough. Imagine a couple of your neighbours getting killed every week, and you’ll understand why almost all the conversations here touch on a recent homicide.

TL;DR: Sucks, crime, cuts, crash, foreclosure, not the Real Bay Area, affordable big houses, long commutes, upside down, civic decay, life downgrade, bust redevelopment loans, abandoned shops, cheap rentals, farmland. We highly recommend this piece but warn you it has a somewhat high bummer factor.  If you’re the type who gets weepy and emotional reading about mortgage rates going up 0.1 percent, we suggest you read this with either a supportive friend or a drink with plenty of kick.  This is a news feature with a Steinbeck vibe by way of Manchester.

Fortunately, this is also your weekend open thread, so you don’t just have to talk about this essay, or Stockton, or the crap house you toured today that might as well be in Stockton, or the demographics of Weston Ranch versus Brookside. 

You’re all ready for our Fantasy Real Estate League, right? This is going to be great!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

June 30, 2012

Stockton Declares Bankruptcy; Burbed Declares Open Thread

Stockton, Calif. files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy

StocktonMove stops a barrage of lawsuits and allows the city breathing room, city manager says

SAN FRANCISCO — Stockton, California, became the largest city to file for bankruptcy in U.S. history on Thursday, after years of fiscal mismanagement and a housing market crash left it unable to pay its workers, pensioners and bondholders.

The filing by the city of 300,000 people followed three months of confidential talks with its creditors aimed at averting bankruptcy.

“We are now a Chapter 9 debtor,” Marc Levinson, the lawyer who filed the city’s voluntary petition in the Eastern District of California, in Sacramento (Case 12-32118) told Reuters.

Pleadings in support of Stockton’s eligibility for Chapter 9 bankruptcy will be filed on Friday, Levinson said.

120629-stockton-kawlumStockton, home of the second highest foreclosure rate in the nation.  And the winner of Forbes’ “America’s Most Miserable City” not once but twice! We offer this as a cautionary tale to any of you considering buying a house that is NOT in the Real Bay Area.  When your definition of “Real” is so flexible that it includes the 209 area code, you have officially drunk the Realtard Kool-Aid.

Stockton now has to open their books to a Federal Judge, and we are going to open this thread to anything you wish to discuss.  Did you visit any Open Houses in Stockton this weekend?

 

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

July 23, 2009

Can someone help Jennifer Hu with Century 21 Su Casa and Mariposa Mortgage?

Kulwinder Singh, Su Casa, and the $2,500 condo | SF Bay Area Home Price and Mortgage Insanity Blog – Burbed.com
Jennifer Hu Says:
July 22nd, 2009 at 2:25 am

A similar situation happened to me. I was tricked into “having a house under my name for a few months”. And all of a sudden found out I owned 1 house and 1 triplex in Stockton. I never signed or saw any documents and now they have gone under forclosure. The people who scammed me were Simon Dante Lopez Jr. from Mariposa Mortgage and Pete and Anna Flores from Centry21 Su Casa. They lied about my income, and also said i worked for one of the centry21 Su Casa “fake business” like a trucking company! Where can we get help and justice! Now my credit is ruined and I have Tax issues. If there is anybody out there to help, please reply if anybody can help me I’d appreciate any advice.

Now, that’s what Jennifer alleges. But let’s assume this is true.

In the Bay Area spirit of everyone helping out everyone else – does anyone here have thoughts on how to help Jennifer out?

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:24 am